I often consider the weight and the body of wine when I decide what to sip in the evening. Am I chilled and looking for something to warm me from the inside out, or do I want a palate cleanser after a heart-pumping walk in the sunshine? As we typically begin an evening with a glass of white wine, and my fingers have been becoming increasingly chilly as I type this winter, I am looking for the white that can warm me while also delivering freshness and balance to the palate. My mind immediately opts for a Chardonnay. Each of these tasty options brings the cozy, warming feeling I am hoping for and the refreshing, fruity liveliness that awakes my palate, making me go back for another sip again and again.
From the rolling hills of Los Carneros, Cuvaison Hedon Chardonnay is the ideal winter white wine. RIch and opulent, the wine undergoes 100% barrel fermentation, followed by 18 months of aging on the lees (yeast) to give weight, luscious texture, and structured character to the warm and inviting wine. Though the palate is rich, the cool-climate of Carneros ensures the grapes maintain acidity, locking in freshness that melds with ripe, fruit-foward flavors of fresh cream, vanilla, ripe peach, apple, and pear. This is one to sip slowly, enjoying every velvety minute.
With highly aromatic notes of jasmine and Meyer lemon, Bricoleur Estate Chardonnay is luscious and inviting. Aged in 40% new French oak/60% neutral, the well-rounded wine is balanced and rich while maintaining appealing freshness. Crafted from the winery’s Russian River estate, enjoying the cooling influence with fog-filled days the river brings to the vineyards, the wine remains perfectly balanced, highlighting the orchard and stone fruit-filled flavors of the Chardonnay, melding seamlessly with fresh cream, toasted vanilla, and balanced nuttiness of blanched almond and toasted hazelnut.
Benovia Russian River Chardonnay is consistently a favorite for its on-point, varietally correct, easy drinking style. Predominantly produced from the winery’s home, Martaella Estate vineyard, with heirloom clones of Chardonnay, the unctuous wine layers wild white flowers and crushed stone minerality with juicy ripe pear, honeydew, and marzipan. Barrel-fermented and aged for 13 months in oak adds a spicy undertone and nuttiness, making it the perfect complement to a cold winter’s night.
From the historic Stonestreet estate vineyard in Sonoma’s Mayacamas Mountain, and named after the founder, Jess Stonestreet Jackson, Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay brings the rusticity of the mountainous vineyard, delivering structure and texture to the wine, with juicy, fruit-forward flavor. Layers of ripe white peach and apricot meld with tropical mango and pineapple. The fruity layers meld into toasted nutmeg, hazelnut, and allspice, with a nice bite of crushed stone minerality, ensuring a textural, multi-dimensional flavor that is easily enjoyed sipped after sip.
Theorem Chardonnay showcases the winery’s 34-acre Moon Mountain District vineyard in Sonoma County, delivering lovely freshness with balanced weight. The wine shows layers of golden orchard fruit with ripe citrus from high-elevation vineyards with layers of crushed stone and white flowers. Aged just nine months in partially new French oak and stainless steel, a note of creamy honey and fresh cream linger on the palate, pairing perfectly with anything from poached lobster and crab to roasted chicken or squab.
Bringing more tropical fruit flavors to the forefront, J Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay from Arroyo Seco in Monterey County, layers lively notes of mango, and pineapple with fresh lemon curd, creme brulee, and baked apple pie. The fruit forward palate remains nicely balanced thanks to cooling winds blowing off the Pacific through the Monterey County vineyard, adding dimension and style to the easy drinking wine. Enjoy with crab cakes or shrimp scampi.